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When he gets to heaven, he is met by five different people, some his acquaintances and some strangers. This is the ultimate unveiling of aspects of his life that he did not previously know. A good example of this is that he had not realized that his life was not meaningless at all. He had been an influence to people of whose existence he had been unaware. This revelation about his life and the fact that the five had been waiting for his arrival also makes him feel that he actually had an impact. The book is written in the third person and has many flashbacks and forwards which add and maintain the theme of the story.
One memorable quote from the book is ¿½all endings are also beginnings¿½. This means that what one would view as the end of a process could be the start of something. Eddy¿½s life exemplifies a situation where one is tempted to view the predicaments in his life as the end could turn out to be the start. Eddie is a man tried by experience and mistakes and he views his life as hopeless and not making any impact. This is a true in life, it is a comforting thought because it increases one¿½s troubles as signs that he or she is alive and there could actually be a second chance to redo things. This idea is comforting and falls in the category as the ones that bring a smile to the face.
The use of birthday¿½s to explain facts about Eddie is an elaborate plan by the Album to divide his life into segments. This is to try and show how the protagonist has failed to achieve his life¿½s goals. They add a more personal approach to the troubles that have turned Eddie into an 83 year old disillusioned man working as a maintenance man in the local amusement park. Alborn must have used this approach to show how each of Eddie¿½s problems in life has affected him and those around him.
Counting the final moments of Eddie¿½s life had a tense saddening effect. The fact that this dying moments are riddled with flashbacks of how he has gotten to this low point in his life. To him the place holds nostalgia for the bad version of his life. It is the end of his life, where he died trying to save a child. It shows how he tries to relive a part of his life that was redeeming and sad. Saving the child was something he had not planned to and he died trying. He is not even sure whether he succeeded in saving the child. He tries to know if he has died an honorable death, given the fact that he is a war veteran. He also views as the place where he overcame his physical disability.
In his first encounter in heaven, he meets Joseph Corvelzchik, otherwise known as ¿½The Blue man.¿½ He was a clown at the amusement park who emigrated from Poland many years before. He had taken a job sewing buttons at the age of 10 and followed his father¿½s directions to be invisible at work. One day he has an accident at work and spills a pack of buttons when the vicinity of the foreman. He tells him to leave the company because he is useless. When his father tries to plead his case, Joseph soiled himself and embarrassed his family. His father could not forgive him for it and this affected him for many years. It gets to a breaking point where Joseph reports to taking a chemical, silver nitrate which is considered a toxin. It does not cure his nervousness and instead of healing, his skin complexion turns to blue and he loses his job because he is scaring the other employees. He tried many other things before finally joining a travelling circus and finally gaining employment with Ruby piers, the amusement park where Eddie worked. He manages to become the best freak show in business and lives on the floor above a sausage shop. Hs work is to sit in a cage all day as people walk by and stare at him expressing different emotions.
He tells Eddie that he had caused him to have a heart attack when he was driving because he made a sudden halt. Eddie does not understand how the Blue Man is not angry at him despite the fact that he had caused his death. The first lesson that Eddie learns that although the two had never met, Eddie¿½s actions had had an impact on his life. It is prudent to know that there are no such things as random acts in life because all of us are interconnected and our lives are intertwined.
The second person that he meets is ¿½The Captain¿½, Eddie¿½s commanding officer when he was a soldier in an American regiment based in Philippines. He was a millitary man from a military family and had a serious demeanor with a no nonsense approach to everything. He was loyal to his troops and promised them that no one would ever be left behind. His part in Eddie¿½s life is that he is here revealed as the one who shot Eddie in the leg. This is however revealed as an in deliberate act that saved Eddie¿½s life because it stopped from running into a flaming house where he thought he had seen an infant. Shortly after, he is killed by a land mine. His part in the story is that he represents sacrifices that need to be made deliberately and in deliberately.
The third person in the chain is a young girl called Ruby. She had worked as waitress at Seaside Diner which was later transformed to Ruby Pier. She had met a man called Emile who was affluent and she fell in love with. As demonstration of his love for her, he buys the Seaside Diner and transforms it into the Ruby Pier, significant because it was symbolic of her youth and undying happiness. She is the third person that Eddie meets and she narrates to him the near destruction of the amusement park. For the fourth of July, she had added the staff and put fireworks to try and attract more customers. This went wrong when some of the extra helps get drunk and detonate the fireworks. The pier catches fire and Emile gets hurt trying to put out the fire. He was taken to the same hospital as Eddie¿½s father. The importance here was that Ruby was meant to serve as a lesson for forgiveness.
The fourth person that he meets is Marguerite, his deceased wife. They had met many years before and wedded on the 25th December after his return from the battlefront. They were however a barren couple and it caused tension between them. On his 39th birthday, he won $800 and called his wife to share the good news but she did not take it positively. When she realizes her mistake, she drives to the tracks to apologies but before she gets there, some kids dropped alcohol bottles form the freeway and they landed on her windscreen and caused her to get into an accident. The crash damaged her liver and broke her left arm and the resulting medical bills increase the tension within the marriage. They learnt to overcome the difference and rekindled their love. She died several years later of a brain tumor and served to teach Eddie of the undying nature of their love. She represented love beyond the grave.
The last person that he meets in heaven was Tale. She explains that when Eddie had been a prisoner of war in Philippines, he and several other POWs had managed to escape and he had set fire to the barracks where they had been held. He thought he had a scream and the saw the figure of a small child in the fire. This was when he was shot by the Captain. Tale tells him that she was the child he saw in the fire and he was not hallucinating. She represented the avenue through which he saw that his grief and sadness had actually become his strength at Ruby Pier because his careful and meticulous approach had saved lives.
Alborn uses these five characters to show that Eddie had actually had an impaction the community. His attempt to save tale had ended in disaster when Captain shot him. He would not have expected to find Ruby in heaven because she was the founder of the amusement park and it has not been mentioned that they had never met before. Even finding the blue man was a shocker because they had never really been mentioned as friends. Eddie would never have thought that his actions had affected his collogue at work. All the five represented a part off g=his past he had not realized existed.
The Blue Man¿½s story was the most interesting of all the five because he had so much in his past that affected his present. The ways he used his perceived weakness of nervousness and mistakes of taking silver nitrate had actually given him a career. His story is an epitome of a man who chose not to give despite his previous mistakes and his immigration woes. His story was opposite Eddie¿½s in experience, when the latter had been living relatively close, the former was suffering in Poland. He started working at age 10 and he was a bag of nervousness. His disappointing his father actually triggerd his depression which turned out to be his blessing in disguise. Eddie is the epitome of someone who gets mad at his father and joined the army. They both ended up in the same place but in different positions, where Eddie was the maintance guy and The Blue Man was the freak show who attracted all the attention.
An example of such a situation is where we do something like not do our work well. This might appear to be our way of getting way with things. Waht we might not realize is that in not doing our work well, we might cause others grievous mental and physiological harm they cannot recover from. We should try and be aware of all the results of our actions on all those around us. The key to doing this is to understanding that humanity is a system that operates as well as any other; any fault in one part affects the performance of others. We should take care to not be immune or blind to the matters affecting them.
The old woman reminds Eddie ¿½you get peace when you make it within yourself.¿½This statement is true because any peace must start from within, peace is a form of change and it must always come from within. Eddie refused to accept that he had ruined his life and refused to make peace with himself, he had applied no possible means of sorting out the issues that had brought him to the brink of insanity and depression. Peace must start form within if one is to forgive himself. Eddie has gone to heaven without even making peace with himself over the issue of the small girl he was trying to rescue when he died at the roller coaster.
She also says ¿½Things that happen before you are born still affect you. And people who come before your time affect you as well¿½ The gravity of this is exemplified by Ruby¿½s story. She had lived in the generation before Eddie and yet her marriage had directly affected him. When the business that was named after her went aflame, her husband had been taken to the same hospital that Eddie¿½s father was in. The significance of this is that for so long Eddie had felt that the amusement park was not the place for him and yet, somewhere in the past he was not privy of until he died and went to heaven was a story of the intertwining of his life with the park. Politicians and families members of generations before me have continued to affect me. Decisions they made while they lived, such as not using contraception and sticking to a health regime have facilitated my existence in this world. Acts passed by Congress, the Constitution and other events that happened centuries ago still affect my life and that of the whole world. The past is inherently intertwined with the future and the present, it is impossible to separate the two and have viable life.
Marguerite wants to be in palace where there are only weddings because they represent something she never got. When she married Eddie, he had just left the war and he only had his meager savings to fund a small wedding. Her idea of wedding is still very girl¿½s dream of a fairy tale wedding. Her relationship with Eddie is affected by the fact that she still holds on to certain elements of their past that are not positive. Eddie feels that he did not accord her the kind of a wedding she deserved. He is angry about her dying so young because it denied him someone he had grown to love. He also blamed himself for her health issues because it was his selfishness and greed for money that had triggered Marguerite to try and go see him to apologies. Although he had no control over what happened with the drunken kids on the freeway, he still blamed himself for it because he was the reason shy she had left home in the first place.
Marguerite says ¿½Lost love is love in a different form. You can not see the smile or bring them food or move the around the dance floor. But when these senses awaken, another heightens¿½..Life has an end. Love does not¿½
The significance of these words is that she is trying to shoo Eddie that despite the fact that she died young and they had had issues, their love was still as strong and concrete as ever. In her words love and life had beginnings, but only life ends, love lives on everlasting, beyond he grave and it can be affected by neither time nor space. I think he gets the message because he has suffered enough without her. He has lived nearly half of his lifetime wondering what it could have been like with her by his side, whether it would have been different in terms of decisions or happiness. I agree with her because while life is superficial and affects the inner man, love must originate form the inside and the outside. It is embedded in human nature and when two people fall in love, a bond is created between them is seemingly unbreakable even when life ends. Eddie¿½s life without his wife has been void and sad because he still loves her, even where he had accepted her death as an act beyond is control, he could never let go of the emptiness he felt when he did not wake up to the sight of her smile on his side.
When Tale says ¿½ you make good for me¿½ she is trying to tell Eddie that he had redeemed himself and that it was not entirely his fault that she had died in the fire. Twice, he had suffered because he tried to save a child and the second incident actually cost him his life. Eddie comes upon the children in the river because they represent his guilt and penance. He cannot fathom why the matter disturbs him so much and he can never forgive himself. Eddie¿½s life was a penance up to when he lost his life, he live all his life thinking about all the mistakes he had made. The significance of Tale pulling Eddie to safety after he dies is the accomplishment o what he had tried to do for her. It is his chance to gain what he failed in doing. None of the other four could have saved him because they had no connection of the sort he had with Tale. She was the start of his woes.
Eddie has accomplished quite a lot. He managed to have significance on the lives of five people. If I had to choose between the five people who will meet me in heaven, I would expect my mother, my childhood friend and three other people whose lives I had impacted without knowing. If I was to select someone to meet in heaven I would want to meet Bill Gates, my children, President Obama and Dr. Kevorkian. I think President Obama would be surprised to see me because he might not realize that his policies are affecting me and society around me. My kindergarten teacher would also be surprised to see me because she might not realize that her words and actions many years ago actually affected the way I live my life and the effect still continues.
The five lessons that Eddie learns are; we are all intertwined; sacrifice is a noble thing you can do; forgiveness; love never dies and remorse and grief have a use.
These lessons are important because we all need to realize that our actions will affect others directly and indirectly. We also need to know that sacrifice is a very important and necessary thing to do for others, actually it is the most important thing we can do for others. We need to learn to forgive those who do wrong to us if we are going to move on in this life. Love and life are intertwined but where life dies when the heart stops love exists in the future and the after-life, if we can find it and nurture it, we can be assured of having a future beyond the future.